The Florida Trail: Chapter 23

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

The road walk started out on dirt, switching to pavement, back to dirt, then back to pavement again. Scenery was lacking. We did see an orange tree and a functioning Pepsi machine on the side of the road. Sadly, the oranges were out of reach and we had no quarters.

During our hike, we met a NOBO named Swamp Water, and spoke to a Madison County Police officer who wished us a safe journey and warmed us about distracted drivers while road walking. Before we reached our hitch point, we met another NOBO named Cricket who was bit by a loose dog and recently acquired dog spray from a mailwoman. A lot of Floridians seem to let their dogs run freely. We’ve had a number of them run up on us so far. Fortunately no bites… yet!

The first truck that drove by us picked us up to take us to Rocky’s gas station. As I just mentioned, there was a dog wandering around the station looking for handouts. He had a collar with tags so he wasn’t a stray, but he was one of the friendlier ones.

We gathered our resupply and ate our roast beef subs with a side of fried okra for lunch. I shared some of my roast beef with the dog. Afterwards, we stood by the road to try to hitch back. There was limited traffic and a state trooper pulled over a truck right beside us, so we decided to put our hitching on hold. We tried to yogi a ride from the people around the gas station instead.

A very hesitant woman decided to take a chance on us. She was going through some rough times. She had to get rid of her two dogs since her landlord wouldn’t allow them to stay, and was grieving the recent loss of both her dad and her husband. She mentioned that both of them really liked helping out others, and felt like it was the right thing to do when we asked her for a ride. She was on the verge of tears as she shared all of this with me. I was getting choked up myself. We both hugged her and wished her the best when we reached our destination. I hope things get better for her.

More road walking awaited us with little to look at. It started to drizzle on us, but it only lasted about an hour.

Then we passed by a lot of farmland and fragrant flower bushes before arriving at the New Home Baptist Church.

Ha!

We knocked on the pastor’s door to ask for permission to camp, which he granted. He also informed us that the fellowship hall was open as construction was underway with the newer one. We were free to use the bathrooms inside and could help ourselves to bottled water from the fridge. There was also a pavilion with picnic tables and outlets to charge our phones. We were just grateful that we didn’t have to walk anymore and could dry out our tent!

The campers and RVs belonged to volunteers helping with construction work.

We lounged around the rest of the evening. Oh yeah, and arriving at this church also meant hitting our 400th mile on the trail. Making progress!

19.1 miles (30.7 km)

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